Greta Gerwig’s Little Women- A modern take on a classic story

2019 was a particularly great year for film, as the Rotten Tomatoes official list was published just a few weeks ago. To much joy, many female directed projects sat atop the tomatoes. Booksmart, The Farewell, and Knock Down the House were just some of many female-directed movies this year employing much praise from critics. There is one other movie however making headway that I would wish to address- this being Greta Gerwig’s second directorial project and six-time Oscar nominated Little Women

Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. (2019)


This is not the first time the Louisa May Alcott classic has been adapted to the silver screen; five other films of the novel were forged before the release of Gerwig’s rendition in December of 2019. Though some (yet not many) viewed another rendition of the beloved novel unnecessary and outdated for our modern age, Gerwig found contrary to such a notion. In a recent 92nd Street Y interview, Gerwig explained “I hadn’t read the book since I was 15 and picked it up again when I was 30. I couldn’t believe it- it was so much stranger, urgent and more modern than I had remembered.” Little Women does, and has done so successfully for more than a century and a half, is reiterate that roles for women in our ‘ever-changing’ society have remained seemingly unchanged. Yes, things have gotten much better from the days of nuclear wives and the lack of women’s suffrage, of course, but the fact still remains- women are still receiving only 49 cents to a man’s dollar in the workplace in 2019. There’s still a hangover in the rhetoric of grandmothers across the USA reminding their granddaughters to ‘marry for money and not for love,’ and even mockery of the profoundly important #MeToo movement coming out of the film industry represents a story that is inherently a reality of being a woman in America. 

What Greta Gerwig has done in Little Women is instill a commonality that one can overcome such hardship and succeed in this world. Through our historical pasts, one watches the film not with a sense disdain for how our society has evolved, but more so with a confidence that so much can still be achieved. Little Women is a breath of fresh air and has been retold with modern gist and new life in Gerwig’s ode to a cherished classic of American literature. 

Male leads still dominate Hollywood box offices and award shows, as this year’s Golden Globe Awards showed us. Not a single female was nominated for Best Director at the ceremony this year. Which, is almost the perfect irony for Little Women. Regardless of the Hollywood Foreign Press’ reasoning, Gerwig remains poised and exact knowing the future of cinema is inherently female, and will continue to be as more young women see and read Beth, Amy, Meg and Jo March discover the world and their places within it. And as for Gerwig and here continued success in cinema, she softly reminds “Men have been putting glasses on hot women [in film and television] and saying they’re awkward, so I can do whatever I want.”

5 women-led tech companies paving the way in 2020

As the new decade rapidly approaches, tech continues to be an industry disrupting the social conformities of our modern times. However, the growing acceptance of women-led companies is still being adopted slower than one may believe. Only a mere 2.2% of investment money for tech startups funds women-led organizations. As a collective conscious, recognizing the marginalization of women’s abilities in the workforce is of the utmost importance. Regardless of such percentages, many women in the industry have achieved wonderful success, remaining pillars of hope for individuals looking to redefine societal expectations for women in and out of the industry. Here is a brief list of 5 women-led tech companies paving the way for others in 2020: 

4D Healthware

CEO Star Cunningham has dealt with chronic illness since she was young. 4D Healthware, under Star’s vision, aims to humanize the health industry. Her time at IBM made her implement the use of data in patient care, optimizing the time and care each individual receives within the platform. 


Coming out of the MIT Media Lab at the end of 2009, Affective tackles three different categories; Automotive AI, Media Analytics, and In Lab Biometric Solutions. From Market Research, social robotics, to human behavioral research, co-founders Rana el Kaliouby and Rosalind Picard are shaping the way we think, interact, and communicate using state-of-the-art tech developed by movers and shakers across the world.

Astral AR

In a Nation plagued with gun violence and a constant fear of domestic terrorism, Astral AR has created detection of bombs and weapons of any type of build or design. Co-founder Leah La Salla has helped lead Astral AR into working closely with law enforcement, school districts, and general public places and check-ins with the goal of creating safer and more secure lives for all individuals; the catch? Atsral AR does this all without discrimination as the backbone of its software. 

Biobot Analytics

Wastewater epidemiology- though not known by all, plays a vital role in the public health of individuals globally. Co-founders Marian Matus and Newsha Ghaeli have created a company that collects samples of wastewater amongst cities and determines a percentage of narcotics and their societal impact on the given geographical area.


Diversity hiring is more important than ever in an expanding world, and tech made to ease the process has proved to be dangerously discriminatory. Founder Stephanie Lampkin however, created a three step hiring system within Blendoor that involves anonymous selection of candidates within the software; only qualifications and passions are to be considered. By doing this, Blendoor gives companies the best candidate for the job without the biased given based on sudden appearances. 

Want to learn more about women in tech? Visit @SWSiliconValley on Instagram to keep up-to-date on Menlo College’s Startup Weekend, starting March 27th!

Legal Tech & Blockchain Workshop

We’re very excited about our upcoming Startup Weekend in San Diego that’s focused on creating Legal Tech, Blockchain, and FinTech startups. Because we’re dealing with some specialized spaces and technologies, Julian decided to do some pre-event workshops to help potential participants understand the tech and concepts involved. 

To kick it off we did a workshop with Legal Hackers on how technologies like machine learning and blockchain will affect legal operations and products. You can follow this link to see the detailed outline of the talk with links to key resources from that presentation on July 27th 2019.

Legal Tech & Blockchain Workshop Detailed Outline and Resources

Attend Startup Weekend: Legal Tech, Blockchain, FinTech (8/23/19 – 8/25/19)

Talking UpCycle Pop, Startup Weekend, and the Atrium with Shira Lane

Learn about one of Sacramento’s most unique communities, the Atrium, and most unique events, UpcyclePop, from its founder, Shira Lane.  In a nutshell, the Atrium916 is a collective of artists, creator, designers and entrepreneurs that hold sustainability and circular design paramount to their practices. But, you can learn that from Shira, herself!

As you can see, there’s no better place for Startup Weekend Sacramento: Sustainable Revolution to be held at (and sponsored by) than the Atrium.

Be sure to check out one of their UpcyclePop events, too!

Feeling inspired to join the Sustainable Revolution? Bring your ideas, skills, and drive, meet like-minded entrepreneurs, visionaries, and hustlers, and develop a business idea in 54 hours!

Buy Your Ticket!

Terzo joins the Revolution!

Why do almost all farm equipment and heavy duty vehicles use diesel combustion engines? The main reason is the torque and power density available to operate onboard hydraulic systems. Until recently, there was no other option. This is a problem that Terzo Power Systems is solving.

Hydraulics serve a vital role in all industries. They are often ignored but are a major contributor to waste and GHG.  These systems are large and can have total energy efficiency of under 20%. They are usually powered by diesel engines.  Terzo Power Systems in Sacramento saw this as a system to improve. With their Hydropulse and HEVI Hybrid technologies they have tripled the efficiency of these systems. This means less fossil fuels burned, cleaner emissions, and lower operating costs.

We are excited about how Startup Weekend Sponsor Terzo Power Systems is making a difference. There technology is addressing 3 of the Challenges being put on at this startup weekend.

  • Challenge 8: Build a Sustainable Agriculture & Sustainable Food Industry
  • Challenge 9: Build highly Energy Efficient Products and Systems
  • Challenge 14: Build the future of Sustainable Mobility

Do you have an idea like Terzo Power Systems that can help build sustainability but don’t know where to begin? Do you want to take action against climate change and help your ideas move forward to a more sustainable world here in Sacramento?  Turn out on June 21-23 for Global Startup Weekend Sustainability Revolution bringing Sacramento together to build solutions. We have 15 challenges around finding solutions to waste, climate change, emissions, and more. We are volunteers and community groups who have focused on building entrepreneurship and sustainability businesses in the region.

Check out the challenges and sign up here. Share your thoughts on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter with the tags #GSWSR and #MySustainableRevolution.”

Challenge 6:  Reduce Food Waste

Challenge 6:  Reduce Food Waste

Organic waste, of which 15% is food waste, is the largest single contributing source to landfills. Food waste transported to landfills decomposes, releasing potent greenhouse gasses, especially methane, that contributes to climate change.

To combat food waste on a local level, WasteRightSac helps businesses meet state mandates for diverting recyclables, food waste, and green waste from landfill disposal and reduce greenhouse gasses, but there’s more work to be done!

Do you have an idea that can reduce food waste? Join Startup Weekend Sacramento: Sustainable Revolution to turn that idea into a business plan.

Buy Tickets

Challenge 5: Substitute the Disposable by the Sustainable

And, the next one: Challenge 5: Substitute the Disposable by the Sustainable!

What’s one way to eliminate waste? Create less dependence on disposable products!

ChicoBag – a Chico-based company – focuses solely on creating quality bags using recycled materials to replace single-use bags. They also offer co-branding services, so that businesses can sell their own branded, re-usable bags.

What is something that you can replace with a sustainable solution?

Join the Sustainable Revolution with ChicoBag by thinking up your own Sustainable Startup Idea! Buy Your Ticket today!

Challenge 4: Upcycling

And here’s Challenge 4: Upcycling!

Can you create a business plan around an idea that takes by-products, waste materials and unwanted products and turn them into something new, useful or inspiring?

Need some ideas? Consider UpcyclePOP.

Upcyclepop is a multi-layered connected shopping experience. A play place for all ages to find creative upcycled pieces of art, fashion, furniture and inventions. Shoppers get to meet and watch artists create.

If you need some inspiration, you’ll have to check out the UpcyclePOP market at the Atrium and join one of their upcoming events – and, yes, this is exactly where Startup Weekend is being hosted!

Join the Sustainable Revolution with UpcyclePop by thinking up your own UpCycling Startup Idea! Purchase your ticket today!

#upcycle #sactown #startupsac #mysustainablerevolution

Challenge 3: Extend a Product’s Lifetime

Time for Challenge 3: Extend a product’s lifetime!

How can we reduce waste? How about making the products we buy and resources we use last longer.

Need some inspiration? Consider the RePurpose Team from Davis – the winners of the 2019 Big Ideas Content grand prize.

The RePuprose Team’s idea involved harvesting electric vehicle batteries at the end of their lifecycle and reassembling and redeploying these batteries to provide commercial solar developers with new energy storage solutions – and at half the cost of new battery alternatives.

Which begs the question – what is being thrown away that still has valuable uses?

Check out their winning pitch!

Join the Sustainable Revolution and think up your own Sustainable, User-Business Model:


Challenge 2: Change from a consumer business model to a user business model!

Now for Challenge 2! Change from a consumer business model to a user business model!

Need some ideas on how you can join the Sustainable Revolution?

Consider JUMP Bikes and GIG Car Share.

You’ve seen them everywhere – Jump’s signature red bikes and scooters is a user business model that sells the service of being able to get around town in an easy, sustainable way. It’s basically a community bicycle sharing – less reliance on vehicles without having to own a bike yourself. Due to the teamwork ofCity of Sacramento, Government,Innovate Sac – City of Sacramento Innovation Team, & JUMP, biking and scootering around Sacramento has never been easier.

Alright, alright – it’s not completely local, but no one can deny the impact that Jump is having on Sacramento’s public transportation. Plus, it perfectly exemplifies Challenge 2.

And then there’s Gig Car Share – another contender in the car sharing arena that makes living without a car easier while giving you access to one when you need it. Use their app, select a car that’s parked nearby, reduce the number of cars on the roads, and rent it.

Simple ideas with seriously sustainable implications. Feeling inspired?

Join the Sustainable Revolution and think up your own Sustainable, User-Business Model: